- This is the day that the Lord has made.
Psalm 118:24 “this is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
I remember back in the 90’s (wow that so long ago now!) we used to sing a song based on this Psalm, some of you may remember it. I was thinking about this song this morning and caught myself singing it, its one of those songs that gets stuck in your head. So i was thinking about this song, and the Psalm that it is related to and thinking, Do i rejoice today?
Rejoice comes from the Hebrew word gheel, and it literally means to spin around (under the influence of any violent emotion). So the question I ask myself is this, Do I spin around, change the way i feel today, because the Lord has made this day, I am alive, I am a child of God, I have the opportunity today to tell others about Him, and learn about Him.
Its so easy to start our day and let our emotions be the gauge of how we feel about the day. The reality though is this. Everyday is a new day, a day where we can choose to live for Him, let Him be the direction we follow and rejoice, be fill of joy, be happy that we are at the very least are alive, that God sees us as valuable. What can choose to be a sour puss all day, mope around or just be ‘meh’ about the day. Or you can choose to spin around that emotion to one of joy and thankfulness. When you think about it joy is a fruit of the spirit, a fruit that we need to cultivate more in our live, especially in these days when joy is hard to find, surely we as His people should have joy for our hope is found in Christ rather than the things of this world. If we want to make an impact on this world for Christ then we should show joy. There is nothing less attractive than a joyless believer, who wants to follow someone without joy? Not me! Would you?
Lets today and everyday ask the Lord to fill us with joy, learn how to have more joy in our lives even amidst this pandemic and in this show those who do not know Jesus that our God is a god of Joy. Lets us rejoice in this new day and be glad.
In Christ our redeemer Ps Jeff
What is SOAP?, I’m not talikng about sanitation and cleanliness, although that is important in these times, Rather what does SOAP as an acronym mean? I came across this a number of years ago in a book entitled ‘The divine mentor’ by Wayne Corderio. SOAP is a tool you can use in your devotional time. I thought that I might be a useful tool that you could use in your next devotional, but I need to warn you, IT REQUIRES YOU TO WRITE STUFF DOWN WITH A PEN AND PAPER, GOD WILL SPEAK TO YOU. So if you are not put off by being challenged then proceed brave traveler.
The idea behind the book is that we need to spend time with God. In His word he has provided all we need. Put it this way, its like going to have a coffee with God. If it was a friend and you were going to have a coffee with, would decide not to show up? Sometimes its like that with our devotional time, we say things like, I don’t have time, or I’ll do it latter and then forget. Lets not be like that, this should be a time we look forward to. Catching up with our creator and spending time in His presence. So lets look at each letter of SOAP.
S stands for Scripture. The best place to start. I know some of us like to use devotional books, that have a verse or two and a text relating to the verse or verses. That is good, but how about going straight to the text yourself and see what God says to you personally. it does not need to be a lot, I find a chapter is good, and while reading ask God to speak to me through His word, have an expectancy that He will speak. Read through the passage. If you are not sure where to start, then I suggest that you down load Youversion onto your mobile device and look at the reading plans available, chose one and use that plan with this tool. Write down in a journal where you are reading from, if a verse stands out write that down, if its bigger than a verse you can choose to write it down or just the reference.
O is Observation. Write down what you observe happening i the text, what is being said, to whom, what is the context, what is the occasion. What do you see is going on. You can be as detailed as you like, you don’t have to write a thesis. A find this part of the process gets the ole grey matter working, it helps us to get things in context, helps us to hear His voice more clearly.
A is Application. This is where the rubber hit the road so to speak. From your observation of the scripture, what is God saying to you, what are you to apply to your life, what actionable thing is God wanting you to do. Is it to be more persistent in prayer, more bold in proclaiming the gospel, to not get road rage when someone cuts you off. What ever it maybe it has to be doable, it cant be something that is amorphous, it has to be real. When God speaks to us He has something he wants to tells us, and we should listen. Write this down
P is for Prayer. Write down a prayer in relation to the scripture, observation and the application. Ask Him to help you in doing what He has spoken to you about. Write whatever you feel you want to say to God in relation to the above.
I have found this a valuable way to spend time with God and hear Him speak to me through His word. let us become people of the word, let it speak to us and mold us to be more Christ like.
In Christ our redeemer Ps Jeff
- Pressing Forward
For my first post, I thought that I would write on something that would encourage you as we enter this time of isolation, or as I will refer to it as the ‘Covid-19 era’.
In my daily reading, I was reading from the epistle to the church at Philippi. In Chapter 3 in verse 13-14 Paul writes 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
What is Paul saying to those at Philippi? and what does it say to us? Let’s get some context. The first 11 verses talk about righteousness, a true righteousness that comes only through faith in Christ, not in who we are or what we have done. Paul shows us that as a true Israelite from the tribe of Benjamin and trained in the law, should have righteousness running off from it, oozing from every pore of his being, if it was dependent on himself and what he knew and/or did. But he counted all this as loss, His righteousness could only be found in the atoning death of Christ.
Paul then in verses 12- 14 talks about straining toward the goal, which is salvation. But wait? Aren’t we already saved? If we have called on Jesus as our Lord and Saviour yes, but Paul is talking about the realization of it at the end. He said that he is not already perfect. So what does he mean? We are already perfect in Christ, His death and resurrection purchased for us redemption, and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us because of our trust and faith in Him, we are perfect, but we are continually being ‘perfected’ as we journey with Christ. In theological language this is called progressive sanctification, or simply being changed day by day, to be more like Christ, becoming more mature in Him as we rely on Him in every circumstance.
Now we come to the heart of the matter, in the two verses that we want to look at. We can not make it on our own, there is no way that we can become perfect by ourselves, it is only through Christ, any righteousness that we possess are like ‘filthy rags’ ( Isaiah 64:6), and that not one of is righteous (Romans 3:10) We need Christ. In Him, our old life has been put to death. Let us not look at what we did or were before, let us learn from our mistakes, take on the righteousness of Christ and look forward as we grow in Him.
In our current situation, this is relevant, we cant meet in the normal way we would, gatherings are not allowed, so what do we do, we pray for each other, we text each other we call each other on the phone and offer fellowship and encouragement in these ways. We must press forward in Christ asking Him how He wants us to do the great commission and the great commandment in our context. Be encouraged God is on our side, He is for us not against us, press into Him, listen to His voice and in obedience do what He has commissioned you to do, to spread the love of Christ and see others touched by Him and come to know Him as Lord and Saviour.
I hope that this first post is encouraging to you and will find it of profit as you serve our Great and Mighty King, be blessed as you serve Him.
In Christ our Redeemer Ps Jeff